Monthly Archives: June 2010

A useful ruling to quote if you’re refused an FOI on copyright grounds

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published an important ruling relating to public bodies attempting to assert copyright on FOI responses. According to Martin Rosenbaum:

“The Commons told Mr Irving [of MySociety] that it could send him material directly by e-mail, but it would not respond through the whatdotheyknow system because the automatic web publication of its reply would breach Parliamentary copyright.”

The ICO have ruled that they must now comply, even though it means it will be published online.

Although this is a specific ruling (a similar one is due on Brent Council), it is a useful one to quote if you encounter similar objections from public bodies. Embedded above.

An offer of help, questions you should ask of government docs, and other HMI gubbins

Hello there,

The very generous people at Scraping Arts – in Australia, no less – have offered 4 hours of free data gathering, or a one-off site scraping, to anyone pursuing an investigation on Help Me Investigate.?Take them up on that offer here, where they say some nice things about us.
If you're looking for something to investigate, one group of people is asking how the release of local spending data is affecting council services and local politics and has already gathered some interesting background information. Join in to read or contribute.

Also new on the site:

Finally, a useful link if you want to try your hand gives?25 questions you should ask any government-issued document?

And a useful tool: Tenders Electronic Daily "is updated five times a week with approximately 1500 public procurement notices from the European Union, the European Economic Area and beyond." In other words, a way to find out about how public money is spent.